Thursday, June 23, 2016

Best Vacation. EVER. Part 2

Welcome back. .
Here's the second and final part of our trip to the beautiful state of Oregon!
So. .we headed out of Crescent City California on Wednesday morning. .Giving us 3 whole days to make the approximately 8 hour trip back up to Portland. Our plan was to drive up Highway 101 as far as we could--hopefully all the way to Washington. .which we were able to do without rushing!
I was so amazed at all the different variations of the coastline!! I just randomly picked photos to upload. .but, without taking time to study them in order again. .I would be hard pressed to tell you where they were taken!!
Often times as we drove, there were signs alerting travelers to the pull-out spots where you could get off the highway and get out to hike or gasp at the views! We did a lot of both!
Once, I think Cami and I walked about a mile because they would have bridges and walkways between the ocean cliff and the highway. We walked to the  next pull off and Jeremy and a boy or two would hop in the car and drive forward. It was AWESOME!!
We put about 1500 miles on our rented suburban while we were in Oregon!
We drove to many of the lighthouses on the coast. They are such interesting structures! We really only got to tour one that we hit during the open hours. This one was Cape Blanco Lighthouse.
This little stop was actually at Heceta Head. .and the lighthouse was behind Cami out of the photo. She is standing next to the jaw bone of a whale (I'm at a loss for what kind of whale) We never spotted whales again after leaving Crescent Beach. .so I was so thankful that we were able to view them multiple times from our hotel and beach there!!
On Wednesday night we were fortunate enough to find another hotel on the beach in Florence. We stayed at Driftwood Shores Resort in an amazing little 3 bedroom condo! It was very cloudy the night we stayed. .and drizzling the next morning. The ocean had a more sinister feel to it here than it had the entire rest of our trip.
The resort was very isolated. .and not all that busy due to our timing I suspect. .so if felt a little lonesome here. The boys were ready to relax with their electronics by this time. .so Cami and her dad enjoyed walking on the beaches looking for shells! This was the one place that all the kids enjoyed the indoor pool. .however. .Devin and Cami didn't miss one day of pool swimming. .which is always a highlight for them!!
I was really looking forward to seeing Cape Perpetua and the violent wave action that they get there. The tide was fairly low when we were there. .but the force of the waves was still incredible!! I took this picture before Grant got completely soaked from the waist down by the wave that came up over the rock he is standing on. He was NOT impressed!!
It was still cool and drizzling as we came across this area. It made the force of the water that much more frightening! We had just finished studying the last 8 chapters in the book of Acts before we left on vacation. .and this area made me stop and think about how frightening Pauls'  shipwreck was if the water during the storm was even partially as violent as this water was!
The foxgloves were blooming EVERYWHERE. .in the ditches, under the trees, on the rocky cliff areas. They were so beautiful!! All of the flowers were!

This is Yaquina Bay Lighthouse near Newport. Some of our crew headed for a bathroom break. .but Grant and I ran into the lighthouse to do a quick tour. It was really interesting!
The rooms were bigger than I would have thought. .and they were still decorated for the period.
The lighthouse keeper and his wife had 8 kids.
What a view from your second story window!! We did get to go to the 3rd story to see the little bedroom the lighthouse keeper stayed in each night. But the shaft that he looked through to see how the light was doing was closed up.
While we chose not to stop at the big Sea Lion cave near Florence. .we were delighted to see some sea lions both in Crescent City. .and again in the Old Downtown Newport.
They were SO noisy. .
But fun to watch!
Jeremy convinced Cami to try oysters on the half shell. .
Which she was a little skeptical about. But this girl can eat sardines and oysters right out of the can!
She thought they were "ok" but she probably wouldn't eat them again :-)
Look how huge those suckers are!!
I was so excited to see one of these little guys for the first time at AJ's house. It's a stellar jay. I caught this picture outside of our hotel window!! It actually reminds me of a couple of paintings hanging on my bedroom walls with tree branches and bird silhouettes. I'm thinking about getting this guy blown up and framing him! I did notice that there didn't seem to be a lot of birds that we could see in the redwoods, where I thought we would see a ton!! We saw a few different varieties in the trees along the coast. .but we saw mainly the same types of birds that we have in Kansas. .and a lot of the same vegetation as well!
I could drink this view in every single day!!
Thursday night found us staying on the ocean at Rockaway Beach. This was a beautiful beach right out of our hotel windows. The hotel was not so great. .but sometimes compromise is necessary. And by then, we figured out that staying on the beach was just what we all needed! The water was still icy cold. .
But that didn't deter the two young kids in their swim suits from getting wet!! Of course, they later warmed up in the heated indoor pool!! And. .You can make out by the photo. .that those who have all their mental faculties. .have on sweatshirts!!
The sunset was phenomenal that night. .and we were able to get some great photos and some great memories!!
The last day found us finishing up the Oregon coast! Beautiful blue skies. .and equally beautiful blue to aquamarine colored waters!
Look at the force of that seemingly innocent water crashing over the rock!! I still can't get over the sheer force of the waves on this coast. It was much different than what we saw of the Atlantic in Boston and southern Maine. .and that of the oceans surrounding Key West!
We stopped at so many tiny beaches to run and play that I lost track of where we were. I am hoping to put most of our photos into a digital album. .and am just hoping that I can get it done before I forget all of it!!
Grant found a live star fish. .and then complained the rest of the day because I made him throw it back! His dad felt so sorry for him that he bought him a starfish shell when we stopped to shop in Seaside!
Incredible rock formations like this jutted out from the water everywhere! I guess I didn't get a photo of Haystack Rock onto the blog. .but I walked about a mile along Cannon beach to get as close as possible to it so I could see the little black puffins. I never saw one up close. .but it was a beautiful place! Cannon Beach was by far, the busiest beach we ran into the whole trip! For the most part there were only small handfuls of people any place we went until then. And I wouldn't say it was crowded like I imagine it is during peak vacation time!
A picture of the Seaside Oregon sign in their famous little roundabout! We enjoyed some shopping and wandering on the streets there. We went further north to Astoria Oregon.
I didn't take a picture of this bridge. .because I was too busy freaking out about going over it. .Instead I copied this one from google images (For all I know. .Grant took this photo from the backseat and posted it!) It crosses the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington. It is 196 feet above the river at high tide. .and it is 4.1 miles long!! There were some ginormous cargo boats on the river--which was also very interesting to see!  We drove north into Washington for a bit before our GPS routed us back through Astoria to get to Portland. .so we crossed it TWICE!
We were glad to be headed home back to Kansas on Saturday.
It was a super fun trip. .Great family time. .Lots to do and see.
Memories to last a lifetime!
Thanks for coming with me to re-live it a little bit!!
Grabbed some photos of the garden a few days ago. .
Will share them soon!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Best Vacation. EVER! Part 1

Welcome back!!
I think that I have about 500 pictures left of our vacation (after editing). .
I thought that I would share some of them! My crew will be in a lot of the first post. .Not so much on the 2nd post.
Oregon was loaded with incredible scenery and a beauty like nothing that we have really seen before!
Hope you enjoy our little mini tour!
Flew into Portland on Thursday afternoon. .
The kids loved flying. .but we were all exhausted!
Got our suburban (perhaps the nicest one I have ever been in!!) and drove (well--after we figured out how to get OUT of Portland!) a short distance to Troutdale, more like a little suburb.
The next morning we headed off. .stopping at several waterfall areas on the way.
Of course, we were all in awe of them--we don't have access to small waterfalls. .let alone waterfalls the magnitude of Multnomah Falls (which is the one pictured here!) We hiked a short distance up to the bridge you see. .And Cami mentioned that she would like to hike to the top.
Always ready for an adventure--I was totally in!! Grant showed up shortly after we got going too. .and the three of us hiked another  mile and the remaining 542 vertical feet up to the top. We actually turned around once when Cami decided she was too tired to keep going. .But after Grant mentioned something about "only coming 800 miles to see the top" we found a second wind. .and projected our wind onto the little one. .And made the rest of the climb!!
If you could have seen that little girl's face when she realized that SHE had made it clear to the top. Priceless!!
I will never forget it!!
A sweet lady took our picture at the mouth of the falls. .
And the walk down was significantly faster and easier than the way up!!
We enjoyed seeing the locke and dams as well as a fish hatchery and even Mount Hood from a distance on our way to Aunt Jane and Uncle Pete's. The whole impetus for our trip was to visit them. They moved from Kansas about 4 years ago. They live near UP's family in the high desert Oregon country. And what beautiful country it is!
A little scenery from their west deck!! AMAZING!
And while I didn't happen to include a photo. .the view to the south from the same deck shows the "three sisters" mountains. I could drink my coffee there EVERY morning and never grow tired of it!!
We enjoyed hanging out with AJ and UP over the weekend. .
And hands down. .from all parties in my family. .our time with them was the best of the whole trip!!
Sunday we drove over to Smith Rock after brunch. .
The name is a misnomer. .it is more like a BUNCH of rocks--sporting sheer cliffs on the east side of them that people enjoy climbing. There were some hiking trails there too. .I don't know if it was because it was Memorial weekend. .or if the crowd is always that big. .but there were people EVERYWHERE there! Hiking, climbing. We enjoyed watching the climbers through the binoculars. Those people are C-R-A-Z-Y!!
AJ, the kids and I enjoyed using one of the really nice walking trails that curved around the top of the mini-mountain that we were on!
Here's a different view to the south of the main climbing areas sporting a winding little river!
Amazing views!!
It was really warm--in the low 80's when we headed south Sunday afternoon.
So we were a little surprised to see. .
THIS when we reached Crater Lake several hours later!!
They had just opened up this pass two days before we got there. .
And once again. .
The scenery was AMAZING!
Hiking in sandals through the snow. .
Off the bucket list that came!!
And my toes graduated to a totally different level of their normal cold!!
Much of the lake was still frozen. .
And there were SO many people checking it out, just like we were!
We must have stopped at nearly every pull out area there was to get the vehicle parked in!!
The kids were always ready to jump out and take another look at the crazy amazing view!
Though it was one of the worst nights sleep I had during the whole trip (me-though-not the bed or accommodations!). .
I think my favorite place we stayed was this old hotel in Prospect Oregon. I hadn't made reservations for rooms, other than a beachfront hotel for a couple nights in California. I didn't want to rush to get someplace. .and I didn't want to stay too long somewhere else if we were ready to move on. As our travel plans fell. .I was afraid that we would either be driving in the dark (and missing the scenery) or staying somewhere yucky. .so Sunday morning, after I had called a couple places that were completely full already, I found a room big enough for ALL of us due to a late cancellation!!
The Prospect Hotel is a completely refurbished bed and breakfast on the historical roster. It was a little odd, staying in a HOUSE (because that is actually what it was--luckily we got to stay in the house, rather than in the newer "hotel-like" rooms built on a side lot) with rooms full of other guests. .but the big wrap around porch-complete with porch swing, NO TV OR WIFI, and old furnishings were a hit with this girl. .everyone else--not so much!! We set a time for our breakfast. .and enjoyed eating in their 2nd floor dining area at a huge table set with beautiful dishes and a delicious homemade breakfast-down to my mimosa!! I would stay there again in a HEARTBEAT!!
After taking a post breakfast hike down to see the local waterfalls, we headed for Crescent City California! (While the kids were all over getting out to see every nook and cranny of Crater Lake. .they were totally over it by the time we made it to the big California sign!!)
I knew that I wanted to experience staying right on the beach during our vacation. I was sure the kids would love that. .and they did!! We stayed at Oceanfront Lodge in Crescent City. .and loved every bit of it!! Here was the sunset view from our balcony! We were also able to see the gray whales in the distance (after a wonderful woman shouted to us from the beach to take note of them!)
Jeremy and I hiked over to see the lighthouse area that was a block from our back door. The kids did some tidepooling. The water was C-O-L-D. .and all the signs around about the dangers of the Pacific ocean and warning you to never turn your back on it--kinda freaked out this mom!! So we made sure that our hotels all had indoor swimming pools for the kids to enjoy!
There were also lots of "pull out" areas along Highway 101 where you could park and hike or park and take in all the breathtaking views!! We stopped A. LOT! Every day!
Tuesday morning we headed south on highway 101 to Redwood Park. We paid our $5 fee to check out the drive through tree and take our pictures with it (this was not it). But we found some equally huge redwoods along the scenic drive!
We stopped and got lost in the forest (yes, kind of literally)--but the 4 mile hike that we took was so quiet and peaceful and majestic! It was probably one of my favorite memories of the trip. The kids loved it too!! Though Devin didn't turn out to be much of a hiker! The kids all got some great photos while we were at it. .though I bet I got the award for MOST PICTURES TAKEN. Grant gets the award for MOST PICTURES POSTED ON GOOGLE IMAGES--haha!
We had stopped that morning and grabbed stuff for a picnic lunch. .so when we found the beach again near Orick, California. .We stopped for lunch and playing. That was a fun experience! Though it was pretty windy and cool there. .we ate in the back of the suburban. .and it took me quite a while to venture down to the ocean! The waves were much louder there than the they were around Crescent City. .Even after 5 days on the ocean. .we never tired of any aspect of it!
The last place we went before heading back to Crescent City for our second night there. .
Was to Fern Canyon in Humboldt County California.
We waited longer than the guys would have liked to make our turn through the current construction site of their windy, little, narrow dirt roads that drive into the recreation areas and further on in to the area known as Fern Canyon. There were ferns everywhere. .They grow up the entire inch of the vertical walls that surround the small little ravine in the bottom. I've never seen anything like it. .and for a woman who loves everything horticultural-I was pretty excited to get to experience the moments!
 More hiking and picture taking occurred there!
Which wore this crew out! It was a quiet ride back through the magnificent redwood forest!!
I'm guessing you are tired of seeing and reading. .and we are only through 1/2 of our trip. .
So I will be back later this week. .
To share some more details and photos!!
Thanks for stopping by!